Scouting Forums

Scouts bsa name change

Continuing the discussion from Scouts BSA Advancement Coordinator Training:
this might help maybe?

Im not sure if I linked the other post correcly?

Michael Demcko asked:

My reply:

I suspect never.

  • “Boy Scouts of America” is the name of the national non-profit organization.
  • “Scouts BSA” is the program name
  • All Scouts in the Scouts BSA program, including those in boy troops are now called simply “Scouts”. Girls in the Scouts BSA program are not referred to as “Girl Scouts” because that name is used by the Girl Scouts of United States of America (GSUSA) organization.
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To answer the original queation bluntly, bsa wont bring back the program name, Boy Scouts, because not all scouts are boys, any longer. The girls in my troop sort of resent being called boys and boy scouts. I cant say i blame them. Calling them “boy scouts” is a sublte way of implying thay they dont belong in this organization, which is untrue, they do belong. To intonate otherwise is sexist and offensive.


@kevinwindisch @Bill_W Im in agreement with you. I tried linking a post from another thread. I don’t think I linked it right. that pretty much what I told the other person. Thanks

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I do it by starting a “quote”, copying the quote statement, cancelling the quote post, starting a reply in the new topic and pasting the quote statement generated in the original topic.

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If market research suggests a name change … :frowning:

I don’t think the research will point in that direction any time soon.
I personally was pushing BSA4G (Boy Scouts of America - for Girls) because it is a plain spoken description of what we have … the program, but girls are allowed to implement it in a segregated fashion.

When those in power get off of their high horses and admit that sometimes in some places Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts hiking and camping together would actually be a good thing for this country, we might discover a real leadership who will form an umbrella Scouts USA that the rest of the world love. That would take far more mettle than our current leadership of either organization will recognize.


Sorry all … last month wrecked me. I was walking around a reclaimed strip mine full of youthful smiles thinking “60:40 … it could have been 50:50 if we just dug deep and invited GS/USA!”

BSA is the organization. Scouts BSA is the program.

If I remember my historical research correctly, . BSA and Campfire for Girls units would have joint camping events (with each at near-by but separate campsites.

In my district, I believe we have had joint BSA/GSUSA membership recruiting events in the past.

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I liken this name change to be similar to the YMCA. The organization used to be known as the Young Men’s Christian Association, but today you don’t have to be young, a man, or a Christian to be a member. Everybody knows what the YMCA is (thanks to the Village People and their hit song), and it appears that the legal name of the organization in the US is now YMCA of the USA.

While BSA may retain Boy Scouts of America as their legal name, I see them expanding their use of the BSA acronym when relating to the organization and its programs, and use the full name for legal purposes only.

Here is the thing: when it was clear that some sort of coed would happen but not sure what I approached my troop. Most were supportive of the idea with a few being ambivalent about the idea.

When I was a scout we would have had to change our behavior some for girls to be out with us. Few women went camping with scouts and they mostly understood they would experience behavior not always considered mixed company appropriate.

Between then and my son joining what was considered mixed company appropriate had changed and BSA had pretty muted wiped out anything that wouldn’t have been considered mixed company inappropriate at the time I was a boy. Further my exposure to girls would indicate that they would be equally as likely to violate the appropriate skit rules as any boy in the program today.

The simple fact is that society is NOT on the side of those who moan about the name change. And though I tend to be much more conservative than many, I would NOT allow my son into a troop where anyone said such things (scouts or leaders).

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The bottom line for me is that the BSA provides an excellent youth leadership program. I’m happy to provide that program to anyone that wants to participate in it. Changing the name of the program to make it more inclusive is perfectly fine by me.

The only thing I have little patience with is people whining about how allowing some particular group (it doesn’t really matter the group, there’s going to be someone that complains that “we didn’t let those people be Scouts back in my day”) of youth to participate somehow corrupts the program or cheapens their achievements. THOSE folks can take a long walk off a short pier as far as I’m concerned.



Camp Fire is actually older than the GSUSA.

Here’s a little history of Girl Scouting in the United States:

GSUSA was founded in 1912, as the Girl Guides of America.

Between 1913 and 1947, the organization was known as the Girl Scouts of the United States (GSUS). Its name was changed to Girl Scouts of the United States of America (commonly Girl Scouts of the USA) in 1947.

Like the GSUSA, Camp Fire Girls of America was also formally founded in 1912, but the program had been run informally in a development/pilot stage since 1910. From its inception, Camp Fire was heavily influenced and assisted by Ernest Thompson Seton and James West. The BSA and Camp Fire Girls of America worked together for decades until Camp Fire went co-ed in the 1970s

There was an organization called Girl Scouts of America (GSA) founded in 1910, which created a version of the Scouting program for girls. The GSA didn’t have the resources to manage its growth and never really expanded outside of its Iowa roots.

A third organization started in 1910, called Girl Guides of America (the same name used by the GSUSA when it launched in 1912) was founded in Spokane, Washington by a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop. This organization also did not ever expand outside the state of Washington.

There were serious discussions of Camp Fire Girls of America absorbing the GSA and the original Girl Guides of America, when Camp Fire was being formally organized. They even agreed on a name - Girl Pioneers of America, according to an article in the July 1911 issue of Boys’ Life magazine. However, the deal never happened. Camp Fire Girls of America continued to grow, and the GSA and Girl Guides of America struggled.

Early in the GSUSA’s history, there were merger talks between GSUSA and Camp Fire, but Camp Fire resisted, since it was much larger and had the backing of the BSA. Camp Fire’s formal existence began in 1912, after the proposed merger fell apart, and it was immediately large, because of the girls who had participated informally for two years.

After the GSUSA-Camp Fire merger attempt failed, GSUSA approached the GSA about a merger and was flatly rejected. In fact, the GSA threatened to sue the GSUSA. The GSA leadership accused the GSUSA of copying its program.

Juliette Gordon Low, GSUSA founder, had been living in the UK in 1911, and met B-P. She moved back to Savannah, Georgia in 1912, and began building her organization. She knew how to raise money and had a knack for rolling out her program and expanding it. She wrote her organization’s first girls’ handbook, which borrowed heavily from those written by B-P, his sister Agnes (for girls in the UK) and the BSA. In a short time, Camp Fire was the GSUSA’s only serious competitor for American girls interested in Scouting-like organizations, and the GSA and original Girl Guides of America faded away.

The GSA’s accusations of its program being copied by the GSUSA are likely the result of hurt feelings. Around the world, people were starting Scouting organizations and basing them on B-P’s Scouting for Boys, published in 1908. It is inevitable that the two organizations would have had similar programs, since they were trying to do the same thing.

For roughly 60 years, the BSA partnered with Camp Fire Girls, which the GSUSA regarded as a rival. Of course, local BSA and GSUSA units worked together at times, but the BSA didn’t take the GSUSA seriously until the mid-1980s (pretty sure that’s about right), about 10 years after Camp Fire went co-ed. After six decades during which the BSA paid little mind to the GSUSA, some feelings were hurt. That doesn’t simply vanish.


@Bill_W and @PeterHopkins, my deceased aunt, for a time, was the oldest living Campfire Girl, and I concur with your history … to a point.

BSA and GS/USA watched as the world’s Boy Scouts and Girl Guides/Scouts collaborated even to the point of coming to Jamboree … together. In our back yard. Some troops, it was clear, the girls and boys never camped together, except this was the World Scout Jamboree. So, for just this once, they would live travel and live together for a couple of weeks.

In that reality, all of the historical context in the US … especially the names we’ve given ourselves and even litigated over … amounts to good reasons, but very poor excuses.


The WOSM extends invitations to World Scout Jamborees to Scouting organizations that are members of WAGGGS. The GSUSA always turns down its invitation.

@PeterHopkins, the GS/USA is not part of WOSM and therefore would not receive an invitation. That’s not to say that they haven’t intentionally structured themselves in a way that would preclude receiving that invitation. But it’s not like the invitation is extended. Specifically from

Youth and adults of national Girl Guide/Girl Scout associations (i.e., those who are members of WAGGGS only) may attend the event with the agreement of the WOSM organization in their country. Girl Guides/Girl Scouts attending such events will be part of the respective national Scout contingent. There will therefore be no WAGGGS contingent.

In other words, BSA is the national scout organization for the USA. They are the only ones who have authority to invite GS/USA, and there is no record that they have ever done so. I am sure that the executives at GS/USA were comfortable with this arrangement.

Again, the details of how we became entrenched in this behavior is immaterial. The bottom line is half of the most competent US youth missed a world-scale opportunity, the most competent scouts in the world noticed their absence, and executives of two great organizations were perfectly content with that continuing.

We could do better.

I do not believe the “BSA is the national scout organization …” in the above statement is correct.

There are two major world Scouting organizations:

WOSM and WAGGGS are independent, but also partners. See WAGGGS’s WOSM web page.

National / world relationships:

  • There are at least two Scouting organizations in the Unites States of America (USA):
    • Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a member of WOSM
    • Girls Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is a member of WAGGGS

The World Jamboree and World Scout Moot are WOSM events.

World Scout Moot:

  • WOSM World Scout Moot
  • [World Scout Moot 2021 (
  • BSA invites senior Scouts in BSA and members of Alpha Phi Omega to attend the World Scout Moot.
  • I do not know if GSUSA members are invited to attend the World Scout Moot.

On WOSM’s list of National Scout Organizations, under USA: BSA is it. I have yet to unearth anything to the contrary.

If GSUSA gets invited, that invite will only come from BSA.

My guess is that there is some agreement to not extend an invite. My strong suspicion is that, over the decades, it has been mutual.

If any good comes of current litigation over trademark, it may be the discovery of correspondence relating to this.

@Qwazse, thank you for the clarification. I had misunderstood how the procedure works.

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@PeterHopkins, I’m just one poor beggar trying to tell others where to find food. :yum: